For today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe contest we have VW’s reconstituted rollie pollie olllie, the new Beetle. This one’s a little beat up but it also sports a VR6 so it’s on beat too. Let’s see if its price can’t be beat.
The general consensus regarding yesterday’s $2,350 1997 Acura SLX (which was a rebadged Isuzu Trooper) was “why the hell not?” I can tell you, that’s the kind of judgement that got us such winners as all the superfluous Terminator movies, deep fried sticks of butter at county fairs, and of course the inevitable and expectedly disturbing Steven Seagal sex tape.
Still, it was good enough for a massive 83 percent Nice Price win, and as you might expect, that’s good enough for me.
Here’s a question for you: VW’s New Beetle shared the same platform as its A4 Golf and Audi A3 brothers and sisters, why don’t we like it as much?
Is it the rounded and aesthetically unique but objectively less capacious body style? Could it be that retro-styled cars were already yesterday’s news when it debuted? Or just maybe, it was Hitler. That asshole’s always messing up everybody’s shit even though he sieg’d his last heil all those years back… down in Argentina.
The Hitler connection will always haunt Volkswagen’s Beetle, and to some extent its modern successor. The only way to escape it is to drive very, very fast.
This 1999 VW New Beetle may not be fast enough for that, but it may offer a good bit of fun in compensation. That’s by way of a 2.8-litre VR6 that’s been crammed under its curvy bonnet. Now, from the factory, only the rabid, limited production RSi model got the narrow angle V6. In that car’s case it was a romper stomper 3.2-litre, 221 horsepower edition. This is an early 12-valve mill so it makes a more modest 178 bhp, which is still a nice improvement on the 150 ponies the top turbo four made when this car was new.
It’s not new now, and in fact it’s a little worse for wear. The exterior has gained the Turbo model bumpers front and rear, but those look like they were installed with mallets-aforethought. It’s probably nothing a little Bondo® and paint couldn’t fix, and truth be told the rough look kind of gives the car a scrappy appearance.
The interior continues the parts bin raid with seats out of the Turbo and a steering wheel out of… um, an Audi TT maybe? Some trim has gone AWOL here and there, and the early New Beetle interiors were kind of cheap seats to begin with. This is at least a five-speed car and there’s that lovely VR6 exhaust note to take your mind off the ridiculously deep dash and the consternation of how you will ever retrieve your sunglasses from its farthest recesses.
The ad notes a number of mechanical updates that partner with the VR6. Those include some sort of engine control remapping, a phat exhaust, and 17-inch alloys from Drag. VRS badges pepper the car so no one will think you just pulled out of your sorority seeking a pumpkin spice latte every time you drive it.
The title is clean and the car sports a claimed 55K on the clock. Um, okay. No word on the source or life lived of the engine though.
The asking price for this Beetle Bailiwick is $3,500, which is a lot for a ’99 Beetle, but perhaps not for a VR6 equipped one. I guess we shall just see.
What’s your take on this hotter Beetle and that $3,500 price tag? Does that seem like a price that could get you to love this Bug? Or, is that just too much for so rough a car, even if it is ready?
H/T to medumdum for the hookup!
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